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Monthly Archives: March 2014

  • High-Performance Thermoplastics (HPTPs): Are They Worth It?

    Thermoplastic Elastomers Thermoplastic Elastomers

    Doug Sharpe President of Elasto Proxy

    Why would you pick a specialty polymer that costs more than most engineering thermoplastics (ETPs)? How can your company compete if buyers choose higher-cost, high-performance thermoplastics (HPTPs) instead of lower-cost ETPs like nylons and polycarbonates? Material properties matter, of course, but do you really need a more expensive thermoplastic for your application?

    Material Selection

    The consequences of choosing the wrong material can be costly. In industries such as aerospace and mass transit, part failure can also be catastrophic. High-performance thermoplastics are higher-priced, but they provide greater thermal resistance than other engineering polymers. For example, many HPTPs can withstand long-term service temperatures of 150° C and short-term temperatures of 250° C.

    Compared to other thermoplastics, HPTPs also offer greater thermal stability over both the short and the long term. This includes higher melting points, heat deflection temperatures, glass transition temperatures, and continuous-use temperatures. High-performance thermoplastics also combine stronger resistance to burning with improved mechanical properties and chemical resistance.

    Material selection isn’t just a matter of choosing one polymer instead of another, however. According to a recent study by Lux Research, HPTPs have “the potential to replace advanced metal, ceramic, and other composite parts”. In terms of material properties and costs then, buyers are now comparing HPTPs to many different types of materials. In industries such as electronics, HPTP usage is growing.

    Existing and Emerging Markets

    In its report entitled, “Innovating High-Performance Thermoplastics: Scouting Process and Material Technologies for Existing and Emerging Markets,” Lux Research forecast sales for three types of HPTPs: sulfur-containing composites, polyketones, and polyimides. All three HPTP families are used commonly and have outstanding high-temperature properties.

    Several of the study’s findings are of special interest to industry. For example, Lux Research predicts that as 3D printing evolves from prototyping to parts manufacturing, demand for HPTP feedstocks will grow more rapidly than for other types of materials. The Boston-based research firm also forecasts increased demand for lightweight HPTPs for passenger seats in high-speed rail.

    Today, Elasto Proxy works with partners who embrace innovation, but must also meet a range of requirements. From 3D printing for auto parts prototyping to helping the mass transit industry meet flame, smoke, and toxicity (FST) requirements, our solutions providers have the application knowledge and technical expertise to help buyers evaluate materials.

    How Can We Help You?

    Are you wondering whether high-performance thermoplastics (HPTPs) are right for your application? How can Elasto Proxy help you?  For 25 years, we’ve been solving sealing and custom fabrication challenges by listening to partners and understanding all of their needs before recommending solutions.

    Talk to us today. Look for a post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Elasto Proxy has pages on all of these social media websites, so all that’s missing is you. I hope you’ll subscribe to our free e-newsletters as well. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, and provide links to blog entries like this one.

  • Bulb Seals and Trim Seals for Weatherstripping and Window Rubber

    Bulb Trim Seals Bulb Trim Seals

    Doug Sharpe President of Elasto Proxy

    Dual-Durometer Rubber Bulb Trim Seals

    Bulb trim seals are dual durometer rubber seals with bulb and retainer sections. Typically, the bulb is made of a medium-density foam or sponge rubber such as EPDM. The retainer or trim portion is often made of another rubber material, such as PVC. Because of their design and materials of construction, bulb seals and trim seals offer resistance to water, ozone, sunlight, and a range of service temperatures.

    How to Select Rubber Trim for Indoor and Outdoor Applications

    Buyers of bulb trim seals need to consider specifications such as seal dimensions and weight, durometer and shape, and rubber compound. Depending upon the application and industry, parameters such as temperature range, flammability, and code compliance may be also important to consider. Although most bulb seals and trim seals are black, rubber parts with different colors are available.

    Bulb trim seals typically have A, B, C, D, and E measurements. Durometer, a measure of hardness, is given in duro. Bulb trim seals vary in terms of shape, and may feature the bulb portion of the seal in different locations. Bulbs also vary in size and have an inch-based inner diameter (ID) and outer diameter (OD). Weatherstripping and window rubber may have additional parameters.

    EPDM, TPR, PVC, and TPE Bulb Trim Seals

    Although some bulbs use 80-duro rubber, most feature medium-density EPDM. A synthetic rubber, EPDM is a closed-cell sponge material that resists moisture and withstands temperature extremes. This versatile, reliable compound also provides a relatively high degree of electrical insulation. Unlike many elastomers, EPDM also exhibits superior UV resistance, making it a good choice for outdoor applications.

    Bulb trim seals are available in various types of thermoplastic rubber (TPR). Weather-resistant, reusable, and often recyclable, TPRs will repeatedly soften when heated and stiffen when cooled. Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), which are sometimes referred to as thermoplastic rubbers, are polymers that have both thermoplastic and rubber-like (elastomeric) properties.

    Thermoplastic rubbers are more expensive than other compounds, but offer advantages over popular plastics such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Flexible and pliable, TPE is less likely to break, especially in cold temperatures. Thermoplastic elastomers also offer good shape memory and lower thermal conductivity, an important consideration in some applications.

    How Can We Help You?

    Do you need to source bulb trim seals? How can we help you? For more information about Elasto Proxy’s wide selection of industrial rubber products, please contact us or request a quote.

    I also hope you’ll join the conversation on our social media sites. Look for a post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

    Finally, please you’ll subscribe to our free e-newsletters. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, and provide links to blog entries like this one.

  • Sponge Rubber Profiles for Shock Absorption and Acoustic Insulation

    Sponge Rubber Profiles Sponge Rubber Profiles

    Doug Sharpe President of Elasto Proxy

    Elasto Proxy Supplies EPDM, Neoprene, Nitrile, Silicone, and Other Sponge Rubber Profiles

    Elasto Proxy designs and fabricates sponge profiles made from neoprene, EPDM, nitrile, silicone and other elastomeric materials. These industrial rubber products are used for shock absorption and provide good compression and recovery. Sponge rubber profiles are softer and less resistant to compression than solid profiles, but sponge rubber has a high strength-to-weight ratio.

    Sponge rubber profiles are formed via extrusion, a production method that allows rubber goods to be run in continuous lengths of the same cross-section. Extruded rubber is manufactured using chemicals and additives such as flame retardants, fillers, cross-linking agents, and pigments or colorants. Sponge rubber extrusions are categorized as either open cell or closed cell, depending on their structure.

    Open Cell Sponge Rubber Permits the Passage of Air, Water, and Chemicals

    Open cell sponge rubber contains interconnected pockets so that air, water, and other chemicals can pass through when the material is not compressed. Open cell sponge profiles are suitable for low-pressure and spring-action sealing, but are not recommended for weatherstripping. Additional applications for open cell sponge rubber profiles include cushioning, insulation, and padding.

    Elasto Proxy supplies open cell sponge rubber products made from materials such as polyurethane, polyester, and polyether. Polyurethane sponge rubber absorbs shock and provide cushioning in packaging and furniture. Polyester sponge rubber is lightweight, mildew resistant, and has low thermal conductivity. Polyether sponge rubber is used for sound absorption and dampening.

    Closed Cell Sponge Rubber Prevents the Passage of Air, Water, and Chemicals

    Closed cell sponge rubber contains balloon-like cells that hold nitrogen gas and prevent the passage of air or water at low pressures. Made of versatile, flexible materials, closed cell sponge combines strong sealing capabilities with good compression and recovery characteristics.  There are many applications for closed cell sponge rubber products, including military, medical equipment, and acoustic insulation.

    Elasto Proxy also offers closed cell profiles made of EPT, EVA, nitrile rubber, and SBR sponge; polyethylene, polyurethane, and PVC sponge; and closed cell sponge rubber profiles that use pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSA). Neoprene and EPDM are used in many sponge rubber profiles. Silicone is suitable for high-temperature applications.

    Sponge Rubber Part Design and Custom Fabrication

    Elasto Proxy also provides technical design and custom fabrication services to meet your sealing challenges. Ask us how we can transform your sponge rubber profiles into sponge rubber gaskets by cutting sections to length and applying adhesive. Our water jet cutting  machine eliminates tooling charges, and we can supply taped parts that use a heat-activated adhesive taping system (HATS).

    How Can We Help You?

    Do you need to source sponge rubber profiles? How can we help you? For more information about Elasto Proxy’s wide selection of industrial rubber products, please contact us or request a quote.

    I also hope you’ll join the conversation on our social media sites. Look for a post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

    Finally, please you’ll subscribe to our free e-newsletters. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, and provide links to blog entries like this one.

  • Composite Materials: Lunch Is Served

    Composite Materials Composite materials can have a sandwich-like structure

    Doug Sharpe President of Elasto Proxy

    What do composite materials have in common with lunch? Plenty, if you enjoy a sandwich for your mid-day meal. In material science, composites are made from two or more materials with different physical or chemical properties. Combining these ingredients forms a new substance with distinct, and hopefully superior, characteristics. Hungry for more information? Let’s step into the kitchen and make a few ham sandwiches.

    Building in Layers

    Some people like open-faced sandwiches because there’s fewer calories in one slice of bread than in two. Others prefer thicker sandwiches with three slices of bread, plenty of ham, and even some cheese and mayonnaise. No matter how you make your sandwich, the combination of layered ingredients produces a taste that’s different than any one ingredient alone. Yet you wouldn’t add jelly to a ham and cheese on wheat. Jelly provides flavor, of course, but it doesn’t complement the other ingredients.

    The texture, calorie count, and nutritional value of sandwiches can differ, too. Does that mean a ham sandwich is better than a slice of bread? Is a triple-decker sandwich better than an open-faced one? The answer depends upon your application requirements for lunch. The triple-decker may taste better and provide more carbohydrates and protein, but the open-faced sandwich is probably the right choice if consuming fewer calories is your goal. Still, it’s unlikely you’d want to add jelly to either sandwich.

    Sandwiches vs. Stews

    If ordering lunch is this challenging, how can buyers select the right composite materials? Knowing your application requirements is important, but understanding this sandwich-like structure helps. Still, some buyers think that all composites have a stew-like structure instead. These so-called matrix materials do resemble a stew of sorts, perhaps one with bits of beef and potatoes “embedded” in a hearty broth. Yet just as stews can be served for lunch, they’re not the only items on the menu.

    Sandwich-like composites satisfy the appetites of applications that require thermal insulation, acoustic insulation, and/or vibration dampening. These composites aren’t built with food, but consist of foams, fillers or barrier materials, and adhesives. Just as smoked ham tastes different than honey ham, foams made of ether, ester, and Triamid have different material properties. Just as you can make a sandwich with wheat or rye bread and mayo or mustard, you can choose different barriers, filler, and adhesives.

    Meeting (Not Eating) Application Requirements

    So what’s the “secret recipe” for building the perfect sandwich-like composite for your insulation application? Balancing all of your requirements is critical. Just as you wouldn’t add jelly to a ham and cheese sandwich, it’s essential to avoid epoxy adhesives if you need to meet requirements for flame, smoke, and toxicity (FST). Today, buyers in industries such as mass transit and aerospace often choose water-based adhesives instead of products that use toluene or heavy metals.

    Striking a balance between strength, toxicity, and the use of “green” materials can be difficult, but it’s not the only challenge to overcome. What types of foam can you use? How many foam layers do you need? Do the barrier materials need to have a felt-like appearance, such as the headliner in a car? Do you need to bond the composite to a metal substrate and, if so, what is the metal’s thickness? If the prospect of designing a ham sandwich seems more appetizing, you’re not alone.

    How Can We Help You?

    Do you need to source composite materials for cars, tractors, or military transports? How about thermal insulation for engine compartments or acoustic insulation for the cabs of mobile specialty vehicles?  Let’s talk about how custom composites can meet your application requirements. For 25 years, Elasto Proxy has been solving challenges and providing solutions.

    Join the conversation today. Look for a post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Elasto Proxy has pages on all of these social media websites, so all that’s missing is you. I hope you’ll subscribe to our free e-newsletters as well. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, and provide links to blog entries like this one.

  • Extruded Rubber and Molded Rubber – Over 700 Profiles in Stock

    Rubber Profiles from Elasto Proxy Rubber Profiles from Elasto Proxy

    Doug Sharpe President of Elasto Proxy

    Elasto Proxy Stocks Over 700 Natural and Synthetic Rubber Profiles, Including Sponge Rubber

    Elasto Proxy specializes in the design and custom fabrication of rubber profiles for industries such as automotive, defense, mobile specialty vehicles, food and medical equipment, electronics, green power, and mass transit. We have the application knowledge and technical expertise to strengthen your supply chain with on-time deliveries of high-value, low-to-medium volume rubber products.

    Today, Elasto Proxy stocks over 700 extruded rubber and molded rubber profiles made of compounds such as CR, EPDM, NBR, NR, and SBR materials. So whether you need standard, specialty, or sponge rubber profiles, our technical services team can recommend rubber molding and rubber extrusions with the right characteristics, including material properties and chemical resistance.

    Rubber Molding, Thermal and Acoustic Insulation, and Door and Window Seals

    As a long-time supplier of rubber and plastic parts to the automotive industry, Elasto Proxy understands that stock-outs are not an option. That’s why we add value to the automotive supply chain by delivering on quality, inventory, and price for molded stoppers, pads, and end-pieces. We can also cut rubber floor mats and supply door and window seals for cars, trucks, and buses.

    Elasto Proxy also supplies rubber parts to the defense industry and to makers of mobile specialty vehicles. From door seals and window seals to thermal and acoustic insulation, Elasto Proxy understands the needs of the military marketplace. Our application experience also means that our sealing products are suitable for the rollover protection structures (ROPS) found on combines and forestry equipment.

    Rubber Extrusions, Sanitary Seals, and Weatherstripping

    With our wide range of rubber goods, Elasto Proxy supplies sanitary seals for food equipment and medical equipment. In industrial kitchens, examples include rubber gaskets for refrigerators, EPDM channels for mixers, and custom door seals for restaurant ovens. Medical equipment such as X-ray machines and medical assist devices such as mattress overlays and patient lifts also need medical seals.

    Sealing outdoor electronics, green power plants, and mass transit systems (including rail) against the elements requires industrial rubber products that can withstand wind, water, and temperature extremes. So whether you need door and window seals for railcars, gasketing for outdoor signs, or rubber profiles for PV panels and windmill nacelles, Elasto Proxy has the rubber parts that you need.

    How Can We Help You?

    Do you need to source rubber profiles? How can we help you? For more information about Elasto Proxy’s wide selection of rubber profiles, please contact us or request a quote.

    I also hope you’ll join the conversation on our social media sites. Look for a post with a link to this blog entry on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

    Finally, please you’ll subscribe to our free e-newsletters. They’re a great source of information delivered right to your email inbox, and provide links to blog entries like this one.

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